First Frank Lampard, leaves NYCFC and now the retirements happen.
Both Andoni Iraola and Mehdi Ballouchy have retired from soccer, leaving NYC with a couple of vacancies.
Iraola is fringing the curtain down on his 16-year playing career, the former Spain international ends his year and a half association with New York City FC.
Iraola made 40 appearances for NYCFC in all competitions since joining in 2015, playing a pivotal role in helping the team reach the MLS Playoffs for the first time in his second season.
“I would like to thank everyone inside and outside of the club who has made me feel at home from the very first moment,” Andoni said “I would especially like to thank my teammates who I have learned from until the last day but also all of the coaches, medical personnel, sporting staff and everyone inside the office who always help to make our lives easier.
“I would also like to thank our fans for their constant support, especially the support they give us when we least deserve it. I feel very privileged to have lived this experience – ever since the beginning of this club which will continue to grow.
“I have tried to give the best of me in all senses on and off the field. From this moment on, I will continue to support this club – now as a fan. Let’s go NYCFC!”
And then today, Ballouchy, the Moroccan midfielder, brings a long and successful MLS career to a close following two seasons with NYCFC.
A popular member of the squad, Ballouchy appeared on 23 occasions for the team, scoring three goals and making two assists.
Acquired in the 2014 MLS Expansion draft from Vancouver Whitecaps, Mehdi made his NYCFC debut against Orlando City SC on March 8 2015 and earned the Etihad
Airways Player of the Month award for May in the team’s inaugural season.
“As a kid, I played soccer out of pure joy, and today, that remains exactly the same,” he said. “This game has taught me discipline, given me an education, and over 11 years as a professional, has offered me so much to be grateful for.
“As I hang up my boots, I want to thank this diverse and amazing sport for all the friends and memories it has given me. While I can’t predict what the future holds, one thing remains sure: I will always play soccer and I will play with just as much joy as I did during my childhood.
“Special thanks to all of my teammates and NYCFC fans – dreams do come true.”
An Athletic legend, Andoni graduated through Bilbao’s youth system and played for 12 seasons at the San Mames, appearing on more than 500 occasions for Los Leones.
As an international teammate of David Villa, Iraola won seven caps for Spain between 2008 and 2011 and finished as a runner-up in the Europa League with Athletic in 2012.
Over the course of his 11-year professional career in MLS, Mehdi represented Real Salt Lake, Colorado Rapids, Red Bulls, San Jose Earthquakes, Vancouver Whitecaps and NYCFC.